Archive for April, 2022

Attention Grabbers: Part One

Hebrews 2: 1

Jesus has a special word for you. It is a word of hope, cleansing, and purpose. Most have heard it. Not all have listened to it.

It is estimated that about 280,000 young women in the U.S. are literally starving themselves to death. They suffer from a disorder called anorexia nervosa. It means they don’t eat properly.

There is a parallel disease in the spiritual realm. It is also self-induced. It is self-produced starvation for spiritual food. Amos predicted this centuries ago when he spoke of a famine of hearing the words of the Lord. (Amos 8:11)

In the process of eating there is – 

1) ingestion, that is eating or taking in food, 

2) digestion, this involves the digestive system processing food for us by the body, and 

3) assimilation, the actual use of food for energy or body building. 

The spiritual equivalents would be:

1)  Ingestion, reading or hearing God’s Word.

2)  Digestion involves contemplating, thinking through the Word ingested.

3)  Assimilation is the application of the Word to life situations.

Tragically there is too little reading or hearing of the Word.  Even more regrettably too few who hear it think about it sufficiently. Most regrettable, only a fraction of those who hear it apply it.

Hebrews 2:1 encourages us to “give the more earnest heed” to the Word of God.  This is addressed to those who have heard it. It is an appeal to digest it “lest we drift away.” That is, unless we should fail to apply it, says it best: “Faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” (James 2: 17)

All that we do should be modeled by an example left us by the composer Bach. On many of his masterful manuscripts can be found the Latin letters “J.J.” and “S.D.G.” Often found at the beginning of the manuscripts can be found “J.J.” and at the end “S.D.G.”

The “J.J.” stood for “Jesus Juva,” that is, “Jesus, help me.” At the end “S.D.G” stood for “Soli Deo gloria,” meaning “To God alone be the glory.” 

In between these two symbols are found some of the most uplifting music ever composed. A life composed between these two attitudes is a beautiful one.

There is an acute difference between “listening” and “hearing.”

To hear means to perceive sounds that do not register or require a response. To listen means to pay thoughtful attention so a proper response can be made.

This text calls on us to tune into what the Lord has to say and tune out, that is not listen, to distractions.

Many of the statements of Jesus are introduced by Him saying, “Verily, verily I say unto you.” Literally, “Listen, listen…”   Be attentive.

The expression used in our text was often used of evaporation. Positive productive thoughts slip our minds like water inconspicuously evaporates.

Do You Have a Great Attitude or a Grrrr-Attitude? 11/28/99

Colossians 2:6, 7

Jesus Christ changes lives. He sweetens spirits, elevates attitudes, gives cause for hope, and inspires gratitude.

In setting the captive soul free He gives wings to optimism, enabling persons to see reasons for rejoicing in the simplest things in life and giving meaning to the most mundane.

Christ gives life meaning and purpose once we give our life to Him. Giving our life to Him means to concede He is who he is and to put our self under His authority and protection.

Colossians 2:6 gives insight into His true nature.

He is the “Christ.” That means He is the “Anointed of God.” He was the member of the Godhead designated to be our prophet, priest, and king.

He is “Jesus,” the historic Savior. The name “Jesus” means Jehovah saves.

He is “Lord.” This title identifies Him as our sovereign authority. It is to Him we owe allegiance and none other.

Colossians 2:9 pulls these three titles together and identifies who He is: “In Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.”

The “fullness,” that is, the completeness of God dwells in Christ. The Greek term translated “Godhead” is Theotetos. It doesn’t simply mean the attributes of God were in Christ, but that the very essence, the nature of God. Simply put, He was God. The whole fullness of what God is, His supreme nature in its infinite entirety, is who Christ is. The fullness of God dwelt in Christ bodily form. Simply put, Jesus Christ was God.

The phrase “in Christ” is in the emphatic position in the text meaning in Him only does the fullness of God exists. This refutes and disputes claims that we are all little gods.

The text challenges us to “walk in Him” meaning to have a lifestyle becoming of Him. Four participles describe this walk.

ROOTED AND BUILT UP, the first two go together.

– “Rooted” is perfect tense meaning a once-for-all experience.

Sidney Lanier the Poet Laureate of Georgia is known as the “Galahad among our American poets.” He wrote such works as “Songs of the Chattahoochee” and “The Marshes of Glynn.” In the latter he wrote:
“I will fly in the greatness of God as the marsh-hen flies
In the freedom that fills all the space ‘twix the marsh and the skies.
As the marsh-hen secretly builds on the watery sod,
Behold I will build me a nest on the greatness of God:
By so many roots as the marsh-grass sends in the sod
I will heartily lay me a-hold on the greatness of God.”

– “Built up” is a present tense, indicating a continual process. Once rooted we are to keep on growing in Christ.

– “Established” or “strengthened” in the faith is the third participle. It is present tense meaning we are to continue to be strengthened in our faith “as you have been taught.” Our faith is fed by the Word of God being applied to daily experiences.

– “Abounding (or overflowing) with thanksgiving” is the fourth participle.

Thanksgiving is a good preparation time for Christmas. It is a distinctly American holiday. It celebrates no birth, no battle, and no anniversary of soldiers or heroes. It is essentially the celebration of the condition of the heart, a pilgrimage, if you will, into one’s inner self to seek out and find an attitude of gratitude so that we can revere it and rededicate ourselves to living in its grace.1

Thanksgiving is more than a holiday enjoyable as that is. It is to be a lifestyle. If we don’t have an abiding attitude of gratitude we inevitably will display a grrrr-attitude. We become sniveling, complaining, pessimist.

Matthew Henry was one of the greatest writers of Bible commentaries. His life was once threatened and he was robbed. That night he prayed:
“I thank Thee, First, that I was never robbed before;
Second, because altho’ they took my belongings, they did not take my life;
Third, altho’ they took everything I had, it was not much;
And fourth, because it was I who was robbed, not I who robbed.”

That prayer is in keeping with the text that instructs us to give thanks in all things.

We have been instructed to walk by faith not by sight. There are times it seems God is saying to us: “Are you willing to give me thanks for that which I may never give you the privilege of understanding?” That’s faith!

Martin Rinkart, in the early seventeenth century, wrote one of the great hymns of Thanksgiving during the Thirty Years War. He was pastor in a city of refuge during the war. It was a time of famine and pestilence. He buried over 4,000 people in one year, including several family members. It was in that context of tragedy that he wrote one of our well-loved hymns, “Now Thank We All Our God, With Heart and Hands and Voice.”

In our time of prosperity let’s give thanks regularly.

A thankful person aligns self with what is good and ultimately all good things come from God. This means a thankful person is fine tuning self with the most powerful force in the universe and drawing strength by doing so. If you feel a blast of appreciation or a sudden surge of gratitude, translate it into action. Express it!

I was reminded recently how meaningful it is to express thanks by being thanked. I had just delivered the doctrinal address at the Georgia Baptist Convention. As I left the arena a person introduced himself to me and identified himself as the football coach of a large high school in that city. He then told me how I had led him to faith in Christ when he was a teenager. He had left school and come to the arena and had been waiting under the bleachers for me to come off the platform in order to say thanks.

That act of kindness incited in me a desire to be more expressing to others of thanks. Who do you need to thank for any reason? Don’t delay, do it. Don’t excuse yourself by saying “I’m just not an expressive person.” Though that may well be a confession don’t let it be an excuse. Say it. Learn to say the magic words taught by Captain Kangaroo for so many years, “Please and Thank you.” Add to them the crown jewel of gratitude, “I love you.” Some folks find it hard to say, but wouldn’t you regret not having said it if you knew you had just passed up your last opportunity to say, “I love you.”

My wife clipped from “Family Circle” (11\16\99) magazine these reasons for being thankful.

… the mess to clean up after a party because it means I have been surrounded by friends.

...the taxes I pay because it means that I’m employed.
…the complaining I hear about our government because it means I have freedom of speech.
…the clothes that fit a bit tight because that means I have had enough to eat.
…my shadow that watches me work because it means the sun is shining.
…the parking space at the far end of the parking lot because it means I have the ability to walk.
…my heating bill because it means I have been warm.
…the lady behind me in church who sings off key because it means I can hear.
…the piles of laundry because it means my loved ones are nearby.
…the weariness and aching muscles at the end of a day because it means I have been active.
…the lawn that needs mowing, windows that need cleaning and gutters that need fixing because it means I have a home.
…the alarm that goes off in the early morning hours because it means I am alive.

Having shared it before I want to share again my favorite Thanksgiving Poem hoping you will share my appreciation for it.

Today upon a bus I saw a lovely girl with golden hair,
I envied her, she seemed so happy and I wished I were so fair.
When suddenly she rose to leave, I saw her hobble down the aisle;
She had one leg, wore a crutch, and as she passed a smile.
“Oh, God forgive me when I whine,
I have two legs and the world is mine.”

Then I stopped to buy some sweets; the lad who sold them had such charm,
I talked with him, he seemed so glad, if I were late ‘twould do no harm.
As I left he said to me: ‘I thank you. You have been so kind.
It’s nice to talk to folks like you. You see,’ he said,
‘I’m blind.’
“Oh God, forgive me when I whine,
I have two eyes. The world is mine.”

Later, walking down the street, I saw a child with eyes of blue,
He stood and watched the others play; it seemed he knew not what to do.
I stopped a moment, then I said: ‘Why don’t you join the others, dear?’
He looked ahead without a word, and then I knew he could not hear.

“Oh God, forgive me when I whine,
I have two ears. The world is mine.”
With legs to take me where I should go,
With eyes to see the sunset’s glow,
With ears to hear what I should know,
Oh, God, forgive me when I whine.
I’m blessed indeed. The world is mine.

Having received Him we are to “walk in Him.” The expression means to have a lifestyle becoming of Christ. Do you? The Bible exhorts to “Let this mind be in you which was in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5).

The encouragement is to let Christ’s attitude be your attitude. Think about things like Christ thinks about them.

We hear much of the atrocities committed by the Nazis in their concentration camps. Much is said about the Jews killed there and few know almost as many Christians died there also. One was Emil Kapaun. On January 16, 1954, the “Saturday Evening Post” wrote of his experience in a death camp.

“In his soiled and ragged fatigues, with his scraggly beard and his weird woolen cap, made of the sleeve of an old GI’s sweater, pulled down over his ears, he looked like any other half-starved prisoner. But there was something in his voice that was different —- a dignity, a composure, a serenity that radiated from him like light. Wherever he stood was holy ground, and the spirit within him — a spirit of reverence and abiding faith — went out to the silent, listening men and gave them hope and courage and a sense of peace. By his very presence, somehow, he could turn a stinking, louse- ridden mud hut, for a little while, into a cathedral.

He did a thousand little things to keep us going. He gathered and washed the foul undergarments of the dead and distributed them to men so weak from dysentery they could not move, and he washed and tended these men as if they were little babies. He traded his watch for a blanket, and cut it up to make warm socks for helpless men whose feet were freezing. All one day, in a freezing wind, with a sharp stick and his bare hands, he cut steps in the steep, ice-covered path that led down to the stream, so that the men carrying water would not fall. The most dreaded housekeeping chore of all was cleaning the latrines, and men argued bitterly over whose time it was to carry out this loathsome task. And while they argued, he’d slip out quietly and do the job…

On the day they took him away to his death, the Chaplain himself made no protest. He looked around the room at all standing there, and smiled … ‘Tell them back home I died a happy death,’ he said, and smiled again.”

As they loaded him on the litter he turned to one man named Mike and said, “Don’t take it hard, Mike. I’m going where I’ve always wanted to go.”

That is a great attitude, not a grrrr-attitude.

1 C. Thomas Hilton

Angels Watching Over Me? Part Three


“Are they not ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation?” (Hebrews 1: 14)

They act out of love for God to encourage us to love God more completely. They are servants of saints. They are not little gods we talk to, worship, or pray to. They do not call attention to themselves, but to Jesus.


Rarely do they appear to people. However, they have on rare occasions. Don’t be disappointed if you never see one. Remember, Billy Graham said he had never seen one.

How often, however, have we encountered angels being “unaware” they were angels.


Good news! Yes, every person has a guardian angel or angels. That means you are so important to God He wants to provide you with a special guard. To shun this companionship is to abandon help offered by God. Again, it is our text that reassures us of the guardian role they play in our lives: “Are they not ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation.” (Heb. 1: 14)

“For He shall give His angels charge over you to keep you in all your ways” (Psalm 91: 11).

“The angel of the Lord encamp round about them that fear Him, to deliver them.” (Psalm 34: 7).

Guardian angels are with us everywhere. Remember that.

A special word of caution is needed here. Don’t pray to angels. This is unbiblical. Jesus taught us to pray, “Our Father…” Believers have direct access to God the Father through Jesus Christ, God the Son.  We are warned not to let anyone trick us into worshiping angels. “Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshiping angels.” (Colossians 2: 18)

They are not to be objects of our worship. Neither are we to be preoccupied with them, but with Christ. “Let no one defraud you of your reward, taking delight in false humility and worship of angels….” (Colossians 2: 18)

The Greek word “angelos,” translated angel means “a messenger.”  In the Old Testament the Hebrew word with the same meaning is “mal’akh.” They are servants of God. Excelling in strength they await the slightest intimation of God’s will to carry it out. “Bless the Lord, you His angels, Who excel in strength, who do His word, Heeding the voice of His word.” (Psalm 103: 20)


Obviously the original created order of angels were initially given a choice. Lucifer, who guarded the throne of God, the most beautiful of angels, led a revolt against God (Isa. 14: 12 – 15; Ezek. 28: 11 – 19). In his pride he sought to elevate his throne above God. His revolt gave angels a once and for all moment of decision. Once that decision was made the result was fixed for eternity. 

Lucifer was successful in leading one third of the angels to revolt (Revelation 12: 3, 4). 

Those who followed him immediately became once and for all non posse non pecarre, not able not to sin. The remaining two-thirds became non posse pecarre, not able to sin.

From that point on the loyal angels are called God’s holy or elect angels (Mark 8: 38).


From the experience of Lazarus, the beggar who died, we know we will have an angelic escort in our journey from this mortal body into our immortal home of heaven. He was “carried by the angels” into the very presence of God. (Luke 16: 22)


No. Human beings are not creatures in transition on their way to becoming angels. When a believer dies that one becomes a perfected saint. Born again human beings are “heirs of God….”

Angels Watching Over Me? Part Two

A primer on angels. Let me pose questions often asked about angels and offer some answers. This just touches on the topic. There will be two posts sharing insights regarding them.


Once there were no angels. That means they were created by our Immortal Creator. [READ: PSALM 148: 2 – 5.] “Praise ye Him, all His angels, praise ye Him, all His hosts… Let them praise the name of the Lord; for He commanded, and they were created.”


At the birth of Christ “a multitude of the heavenly hosts”(Luke 2: 13) celebrated His advent.

At his arrest “more than twelve legions of angels” were on stand-by to defend Him (Matthew 26: 53). That means He could have called 72 thousand angels.

Revelation 5: 11 describes the number around the throne of the Lamb: “…the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands.” That means there are billions.


No. In giving us some idea how we will know one another in the afterlife Christ said, “In the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels of God in heaven” (Matthew 22: 30). Neither do they die (Luke 20: 36). Therefore, their number is constant.


There are innumerable beautiful and mighty angels busy at all times carrying out the commands of God. They sweep through space between heaven and earth with great speed to fulfill the will of God.  They are well organized. They are defined in ranks of cherubim (Gen. 3: 24), seraphim (Isa. 6: 2,3), and living creatures (Rev. 4: 6 – 8). They are led by two archangels, Michael (Daniel 10: 21; Jude 9) and Gabriel (Daniel 8: 16).


The world of angels is just as busy and complex as the human world. There is a difference in that they can see our realm, but we can’t see theirs.

Angels are spoken of as flying, but it is not said they have wings. Seraphim have wings but nowhere does it say angels had wings. The idea of winged angels didn’t appear until the third century when Christian polemicist Tertullian stated that “every angel and demon is winged. Consequently, they are everywhere in a moment.”

Around the fourth century angels began to appear in Christian art. To distinguish them from Jesus and His disciples in their art work they depicted them with wings. 

Angels are spirit beings. In their normal state they don’t have physical bodies. Though they are spirits they are not omnipresent, all present, that is. They are messengers of God. They are not like sweetly spirited Clarence in “It’s a Wonderful Life,” “trying to earn their wings.”

They are unlike God in being all present, so they are unlike Him in that they are not all knowing. Peter said not even the angels understand the good news of the gospel. They are so amazed by the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ they “desire to look into it” (I Peter 1: 12). 

Jesus said of His second coming the angels don’t know the time.

Hebrews 2: 9 informs us that Jesus Christ, in becoming a man “was made a little lower than the angels.” Obviously, angels presently occupy a state higher than human beings (Psalm 8:5). 

They do for the present. Someday the saints of Christ will rule over angels: “Do you not know that we shall judge angels?”  (I Cor. 6: 3).

Presently, they are supernatural and we are natural. After death in eternity we will be exalted supernatural saints who rule over angels.

God’s Talent Search 2/28/99

Matthew 25: 13 – 30
Page 1451 Come Alive Bible

Jesus Christ gives us all opportunities. What we do with them is our gift to Him.

In each teaching of Christ are many lessons. In the story of the talents is found the principle of aggressively pursuing your opportunities. Jesus wants you to be an achiever. He desires for you to have the fulfilling satisfaction that in all things you have done your best.

The parable of the talents is the story of assets and abilities well used and the tragedy of wasted opportunity. Each of us finds our self typified by one or the other.

Nineteenth-century American poet John Greenleaf Whittier wrote: “FOR ALL SAD WORDS OF TONGUE AND PEN, THE SADDEST OF THESE: ‘IT MIGHT HAVE BEEN!’”

Living up to our potential is the challenge that awaits us with the dawning of each new day. It is a stretching exercise lasting all day every day. Enjoy it.

In the spirit of Whittier’s statement comes the line from the movie “Rocky,” spoken by an aspiring fighter: “I could have been a contender. I could have been somebody.”

The exciting thing about what our Lord expects is not that we be the best at anything, but that we be our best at everything.

Consider the parable in Matthew 25: 13 – 30.

Jesus spoke of the “kingdom of heaven.” It is a term used for the rule of Christ in the lives of His people on earth. All three people in the parable are believers. That is further indicated by the expression the “man traveling,” being a reference to Christ, “who called his own servants.” All three were believers.

A “talent” was not a reference to ability though it is used to illustrate our use of our ability. A talent wasn’t a coin. It was a weight. Balancing scales were used in that day like those depicted as being held by “Miss Liberty.” The value of a talent was dependent upon what was being weighed. If it was a talent of gold it had one value. If lead another.

The fact “talents,” that is a weight of measure are used to illustrate “talents,” that is abilities is a bit confusing. Keep that in mind. Some were given:

One was given two talents and one five talents. They had different abilities but similar opportunities. Their numbers of talents was “to each according to his own ability” (Vs. 15).

Each traded wisely and doubled their talents. Both were equally faithful. It doesn’t matter one made five and one two talents. The important thing is both made 100%. To make such gain they had to be risk takers.

A risk taker is a humble person willing to sacrifice his ego. Most people don’t believe that. They think people who venture big and attempt big things are ego centered. Consider this. What is the basis of egotism? It is our own ego. Egotistical people are concerned about themselves, their reputation, their safety, their image. They want to avoid embarrassment or failure. Therefore they play it safe. They don’t want to risk humiliation or discomfort.

The risk taker has to be humble because like a turtle his or her neck is always exposed. The egotist keeps his or her head safe in the shell.

Are you willing to venture for Christ? Will you dare stick your neck out for Him? Will you speak up for Him when all others are mute or critical? Will you work for His cause and run the risk of being criticized?

Our abilities aren’t equal. But our efforts should be.

In the parable one was a:

The one given the stewardship by his master of one talent buried it. Like the turtle with his head in the sand he wasn’t going to risk anything. Instead he played the now popular “blame game.”

“Then he who had received the one talent came and said, ‘Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed. And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours'” (Matthew 25:24, 25).

He was a reason faker. He blamed the master who gave him the talent. He didn’t have his master’s will in mind.

Instead of blaming others thank the Lord for that with which He has entrusted you. One talented person is just as vital, important, and strategic in the kingdom as five talented people.

Lessons of lives unwilling to blame others and cop out are numerous.

Ernestine Schumann was born to poor parents. Her father was Austrian and her mother Italian. As a teenager she aspired to be an opera singer. At age 18 she married. This set in motion a series of heartbreaks. Her husband lost his job. After the birth of their third child her husband Paul left her and the children.

Ernestine went from stage to stage begging for a job. Finally the director of the Hamburg Opera Company hired her for ten dollars a month. With that she had to provide for herself and her children.

Her husband had accumulated significant debts. According to German law the wife was responsible for the debts of the husband. As a result her furniture was taken away.

Destitute and in despair she took her baby in her arms and leading her children set out for the railroad tracks. She knew the schedule and what she proposed would be swift and certain. As the train drew near and blew its whistle she knelt. It was cold and the shivering children began to cry. August her son squeezed her hand. Lotta, her oldest daughter cried, “Mamma, mamma, I love you. I love you. Take me home!”

Love and duty triumphed in her motherly heart and she arose and trudged back to their dreary home.

She became resolute not to bury her talent. She wrote Pollini the director of the Hamburg Opera a letter of appeal and gained an interview. She later recounted the interview.

“Well, I got your letter Heink,” Pollini said, “and I laughed when I read it. It was too funny.”

“Herr Direktor,” I cried, “you say you read my letter and you laughed, because it was funny?”

“Yes,” he said, and got up and walked toward me laughing. “You asked that I let you sing the big contralto parts –- you? (And he pointed his finger at me). “Why,” he said, “you are nothing! You will never be a first contralto, never — never — never!” and he shook his finger right in my face and laughed again.

“I can make you, maybe, a good comedienne. Yes, that I can do— but first contralto — ach, Gott! Never!”

Ernestine continued: “Oh I was furious! I went up to him close, my face to his, and I said: ‘Herr Pollini, now I will tell you something! I will be the first contralto —- not only of Germany, but I will be the first contralto in all the world! Mark that!”

Ernestine Schumann-Heink did sing again in Hamburg. As first contralto she sang lead roles in Das Rheingold and Tristan. In Chicago she sang Lohengrin and that audience gave her not one standing applause but demanded she return for twenty curtain calls.

Madam Schumann-Heink did indeed become the first contralto of the world because she not only refused to bury her talent but she would not allow anyone else to bury it either.

From the world of sports comes inspiring stories of those who refused to bury their talent. Some even having only one talent.

From Tanzania came John Stephen Akhwari to run in the 1968 Olympics. With his right leg bloody and bandaged he staggered into the stadium more than a hour behind the winner of the marathon. When asked why he didn’t quit long before he said,

“My country did not send me to Mexico City to start the race. They sent me to finish the race.”

Our Lord hasn’t saved us that we might engage in starts and fits of faithfulness but to finish faithfully.

Don’t hide your talent, invest it for the Lord. Don’t keep it to yourself. Give it to Jesus.

In the parable some were —-

Two multiplied the talents entrusted to them.

It is faithfulness in little things that make or break us. It is the little things of the hour not the great things of the ages that make us.

It is the constant sunbeam not flashing lightening that makes life flourish. It is the calm cool clear water of a quiet stream that refreshes. Not the nosy torrent of a flooded river that quenches thirst.

It is day-in-day-out loyalty to the Lord that makes for a rewarding life.

It really doesn’t matter what talents you have. The important thing is to maximize your opportunities. Each of the faithful ones returned the optimum. The excuse maker, had he been faithful, and the two talented recipients, had they not been faithful would have returned the same.

In sports a person with ability grading 80% who extends a maximum effort will achieve more than a person whose ability grades 90% but only extends a 75% effort. You can be an achiever for Christ regardless of your ability.

In the parable some were:

There is joy inerrant and as a result of a job well done. One of the best definitions of happiness I have ever been able to concoct is: “Happiness is a beautiful by-product of a job well done.”

The faithful servants engaged in various delights.

One of the blessings of doing a job well is the satisfaction of having done your best.

Many people live for the weekends, vacation, or time off. When these times of imagined enjoyment finally come they aren’t enjoyed. There is a simple formula explaining why.

We are prepared to enjoy our leisure in direct proportion to the extent we feel we have deserved it.

Some having goofed and worked half-heartedly know they haven’t earned and don’t deserve time off and they don’t enjoy it. These faithful servants had a sense of fulfillment.

Part of their reward was more work to do. We are our most contented when we have a meaningful task. It is challenging and gratifying. Knowing there is more rewarding work to do gives a sense of purpose. Its fulfilling.

The ultimate reward and fulfillment in the parable is found in verse 21: “His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord'” (Matthew 25:21).

Joy is the natural result of being a good and faithful servant.

The ultimate joy is reserved to the end. It is heaven.

We must by love be compelled to give our best our all for our Lord.

It was a big and busy street along which the hurrying feet of a poor little newsboy walked rapidly. He had little interest at this moment in selling papers. It was his mother’s birthday and he was on his way to a nearby florist shop. He had fingered the thirty seven cents he had in his right pants pocket. His invalid was his one concern. Traffic ignored the little guy and he ignored traffic.

As he entered the floral shop the owner said, “Thanks, son, but I don’t need a newspaper today.”

“I didn’t come to sell newspapers. I came to buy some flowers. The lad spoke, “You see, mister, Mom’s birthday is today, and I’m going to buy her the best bouquet in the world. I’ve been saving penny after penny and now I’ve even got a nickel. Mister, I’ve got thirty-seven cents and I want the best bouquet in the store. Daddy’s been gone since I was a boy and now my sister is with the Lord. It’s just Mom and me left. She loves flowers. I’ve been saving and I want to take her flowers.”

The man listened attentively to the little urchin and said, “Alright, son, she will have the most beautiful bouquet in this city today.”

Like an artist the florist added bud after bud and wrapped it well.

“How much is it,” said the child, as he confidently put down his thirty-seven cents.

“Let me see,” said the proprietor, “that will be exactly thirty-seven cents.”

As the elated child walked out the florist said, “Remember, tell your mother happy birthday for me.”

Moments later as the quick-footed boy rushed across the street with the flowers partially blocking his vision the sound of the shrieking of heavy steel brakes on the city rail car was heard. The limp body of the mangled child was placed in an ambulance with the flowers and newspapers.

In the hospital the large eyes of the child searched the white room and finally focused on a man standing over him.

“You are a doctor, aren’t you mister?” “Yes, I am.”

The child’s nervous hand felt across the bed where his leg should have been.

“Well, doc, I suppose I didn’t make it did I?” “No.”

In his pitiful condition he said, “Where is that big bunch of flowers?” The doctor handed them to him.

“Doctor,” the boy smiled through tears he tried to keep back, “today is Mom’s birthday and now I can’t bring her these flowers. Would you take ‘em to her? Would you please? We live on the last street in the East-Side Settlement.

“Tell Mother the flowers are only thirty-seven cents worth, but it’s the best I could do … and tell her I love her.”

The trained eye of the doctor saw life slipping away. Seeing the child’s lips move he bent over to try to hear what he was saying. He heard him repeat, “thirty-seven cents worth … not much … but the best I could do … and I love her … love her … love.” The voice went silent and the soul went skyward.

The doctor went to the project searching for the mother. As he entered the hall he heard the mother call out, “Sonny boy, are you home already —-?”

Seeing the doctor she exclaimed, “Doctor, what are you doing here?” “I brought you some flowers. I merely brought them. They are from your son on this your birthday.”

It was hard for the doctor to tell what had happened. Her sturdy faith calmed her broken heart as she asked, “What were my boy’s last words?”

She heard words which became etched in her memory: “Thirty-seven cents’ worth … not much … but the best I could do … and I love her … love her … love.”

Heart to heart … have you ever given Jesus your best, your thirty-seven cents worth?” Do now.

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service” (Romans 12:1).